Monday, March 31, 2014

Mowrer Makes Iowa City Stop

Jim Mowrer has a challenge ahead of him in November, but in front of a room full of Democrats, he has no problem winning over the crowd: the mere mention of his opponent's name draws groans and chuckles.

The end of the fundraising quarter brought Steve King's opponent to Iowa City for a house party fundraiser.

This isn’t just about our district," Mowrer said. "Steve King is bad for the district and Iowa, but I really think he’s bad for America. He doesn’t believe in investing in the future.”

“When Steve King says government is broken, he’s bragging. He’s the one that broke it,”  Mowrer said. “He’s a liability for the Republican party. And every Democrat in the country is interested in beating Steve King.”

At least Democrats from everywhere IN the country: Mowrer received donations from all 50 states in his first quarter of fundraising last year.

Mowrer has outraised King two quarters in a row and he seems confident that, one the numbers for the quarter ending today are reported in two weeks, he can extend that string.

And while critiques of his opponent warm the hearts of Democratic donors, Mowrer is also able to make a solid case for himself, focusing on his military service in Iraq and in the Pentagon.

Mowrer said his relative youth (he's just short of 28) has only been an issue in that it gives him yet another way to contrast himself with his opponent and with Washington dysfunction. “Just like the Greatest Generation, we’re going to keep working to make our future better," he said of his fellow young veterans, "and our best days are ahead of us.”

Mower worked with the Army Office Of Business Transformation on reforming military procurement. “Without cutting any essential services, we saved $3.5 billion of taxpayer money. “

In addition to a military background, Mowrer also grew up on a family farm, until his father died in a farm accident. “What kept my family from falling down so far we couldn't get back up was the basic social safety net, specifically Social Security survivor benefits, and that’s why I’m a Democrat.”

But with an opponent whose stock in trade is red meat for the right, issue discussions invariably stray back to King. There's just too much good material.

“There’s a clear contrast in this race. I want to raise the minimum wage, Steve King wants to eliminate it. I want to protect Social Security. He wants to raise the retirement age and says Wal-Mart will hire you until you're 74."

And on King's signature issue, immigration, Mowrer said “I’ll just echo the speaker. It’s hateful and wrong. I’m in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, I’m in favor of the DREAM act.”

“Steve King never has solutions. The answer to everything is no. He doesn’t have another immigration bill. Is his solution picking up 13 million people and moving them to another country? That would be devastating to our economy.”

"If you're a moderate in any way, I have a case to make to you," said Mowrer of his plans to target independents and moderate Republicans, a necessity in a district that's red, but not AS red as it was prior to the 2011 redistricting.

“I want this country to be successful no matter who the president is. Steve King says he only wants the county to be successful if we have a Republican president, a Republican House and a Republican Senate. That's only four of the last sixty years."

Mowrer cited polls showing King with 40% approval in the district and 47% disapproval, and a horse race number of 45% for King to 49% for "his Democratic opponent."

"We have a good case. Steve King has a bad case. And Iowans are pretty good at making judgements, They expect good ideas from their leaders.”

“I would not be running this race if I was not exceedingly confident.”

Upcoming Events: March 31 - April 7

Terry Branstad brings the campaign for Term 6 to Johnson County this week, keynoting a Thursday fundraiser for the Johnson County Republicans. Asking price is $50 (60 after today) for the 6 PM dinner at the Coralville Marriott. You'll probably catch lots of Republicans running for lots of other stuff too. They're inviting press so I may just check it out.

That'll mean missing my own party's Central Committee meeting that same night, 7 PM at the Iowa City School District.

Next Monday Democratic secretary of State candidate Brad Anderson will be at the Hampton Inn at Sturgis Corner Dr from 5:30 to 7. Hosts are Bob and Sue Dvorsky, Ravi Patel , and Zach Wahls. Suggested donations start at 25 bucks.

That's not the last pitch for money you'll see today, the last day of the first quarter for federal candidates. Your inbox like mine is filling past with pleas to reach Our Campaign's Most Important Goal Yet. We'll hear how it turns out in a couple weeks.

Cartoon of the year awarded March 28:

As a government union goon, I approve.

It finally officially looks like spring because colorful things are sprouting: teal yard signs blossomed Sunday for Janelle Rettig.

Jonathan Narcisse sued to get on the ballot and lost and sued and lost and sued again.  Betting the beret the Narcisse-ists run independent again this fall. As a friend said this week: "I have mixed emotions between people's right to run and just plain dumb assedness."

And just a general observation: I speak for myself. When a lot of people who've repeatedly won the confidence of the voters agree with me, it's just a nice bonus.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Of Girls and Pigs

It's not been a good week for making Iowa look cool.

We started with Joni Ernst's pig-castrating ad, which earned comedic attention far beyond its tiny Des Moines cable buy. Now, that's not saying it hurts Ernst in an Iowa Republican primary. It almost certainly helped, especially when contrasted with the, um, conveniently timed release of Bruce Braley's unfortunately phrased thoughts on the makeup of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Braley's bumble was only interesting to Iowans and the Beltway political insider class. (Though I can in all honesty say: Bruce's week started with an interview with me and it was all downhill from there.) Ernst's ad was mainstream national late night comedy fodder, and in state it broke her out of the pack. I'll say she and deep-pockets Mark Jacobs are the frontrunners in the primary. 

But the national laughs were on Iowa as much as on Ernst. And our image wasn't helped by the killjoy image control freak University of Iowa administration.

In case you've been under a rock, HBO's uber-hip, New York City based series Girls ended its season last weekend  with the lead character accepted to the Iowa Writers Workshop. I don't watch it, because I'm officially Too Old To Care About Cool, but apparently there is a lot of sex and stuff because HBO.

If you're a 15 year old boy in 1982, you can totally see a boob here.

So my hunch on how it would play out was quickly confirmed. Unlike Joni Ernst, the University isn't smart enough to cash in on free publicity. Of COURSE HBO asked to film on location and of COURSE Sally Mason's minions vetoed it because It Could Damage The University's Reputation. Who would have ever expected them to do anything else? Their first instinct, no matter what the issue, is always always always to stonewall.

So put these two items together for a non-political non-Iowan, and we're the state that castrates pigs and doesn't let the cool hip TV show film here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Last Minute Supervisor Surprise

Johnson County got a last minute filing surprise today. Diane Dunlap, a clerk in the recorder's office, is the fourth Democratic candidate for the Board of Supervisors.

Even though we've worked in the same building 11 years, I have to admit I don't know Diane well beyond the hi in the hall level. She's in my bargaining unit (but not a union member).

And a non-filing: North Liberty city council member Gerry Kuhl, who passed paperwork for supervisor at the caucuses in January, did not turn them in.

Dunlap joins the three main-chance contenders on the June 3 ballot: Mike Carberry, Lisa Green-Douglass, and incumbent Janelle Rettig. The top two go on to November to face incumbent John Etheredge, the only Republican to file for any courthouse jobs. Republicans can still recruit a second candidate and independents/third parties can file later. The deadline for everything is August 27.

The only other courthouse contest is the county attorney race between incumbent Janet Lyness and challenger John Zimmerman. Recorder Kim Painter and treasurer Tom Kriz are unopposed.

So one name is added to the ballot, and one removed: the challenge to Jaron (Ron) Varner's nomination papers in House 85 was upheld. Enough signatures were outside the district that he dropped below the 50 required. Varner, who filed against incumbent Vicki Lensing, was the only Democratic primary challenger in the state. He had already announced plans to withdraw and sent in the withdrawal paperwork, but it seems to have arrived late.

On another legal front, Jonathan Narcisse was in court suing to get on the ballot for governor against Jack Hatch. Argument seems to be: Didn't put what office you're running for on the paperwork? Racism!

Deadline Day Grab-Bag

5:00 tonight is county filing deadline. All that's left is the possibility of last minute surprises, as the announced candidates have turned their papers in.

Democrat Mike Carberry filed for the Board of Supervisors Monday, joining incumbent Janelle Rettig and first time candidate Lisa Green-Douglass. The top two go on to November to face Republican incumbent John Etheredge, who filed Tuesday. There are no other announced Republicans, though someone could show up today or the party could nominate a second candidate at a convention before August 27.

Independents/third parties can also file during an August 4 - August 27 window. That means the Libertarians can't file yet, but they did announce a slate at their recent state convention. They have an Iowa House candidate in a Dubuque County district (I mean OTHER than Steve Drahozal, who ran as a Libertarian in 2000 but says he's a Democrat now).

Also filing yesterday, as planned, was incumbent county attorney Janet Lyness, who faces a Democratic primary challenge from John Zimmerman. Lyness capped off the day with a successful-looking fundraiser in Coralville. Candidates and electeds spotted: Rettig and Green-Douglass, Lonny Pulkrabek and Rod Sullivan (who aren't up this year), state senate candidate Kevin Kinney, and Mitch Gross of the Coralville city council.

Another primary challenge seems to be ending before it really began. Jaron (Ron) Varner called me yesterday. Varner filed in the House District 85 Democratic primary, challenging Rep. Vicki Lensing. He said that after filing, he reconsidered his priorities and the demands of a campaign. Varner told me he sent the dropout paperwork by overnight mail to the Secretary of State's office on Tuesday the 18th, a day before the dropout deadline. Via Facebook:
Last Monday, somebody told me that he'd heard I had died. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I replied, "No, I am very much alive! I'm going to law school, running for Congress... I'm doing very well." After I had left, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I remembered how, while still in the hospital after my stroke, my blood pressure would rise whenever I talked about my company or my nonprofit. Then, I considered the insurmountable amount of stress that awaited me while running for office. Then I had a moment of clarity, I respectfully withdrew my name from the ballot. Getting on the ballot, in itself, was a win for me. This time last year, I could not tie my shoes. This past few weeks has shown me what I am made of, as well as what I am capable of. Of the 50 signatures needed, I received 80. Thank you ALL, once again, for the prayers and encouragement. I plan to focus on finishing school, improving my health and wellness, my nonprofit, my family & my career. Then, when the time is right, perhaps I will give it another go. I pray that my testimony might encourage you to pursue your dreams, no matter your circumstances. Lord knows you all have encouraged me.

Love & Light!

"You know it's real when you are who you think you are."
But this statement flew way below the radar, harder to find because the candidate filed as "Ron" but posted under his full name "Jaron." On Friday, attorney Paul McAndrew, a district resident and a but of a ballot access watchdog (he filed the 2012 challenge to Joe Seng's papers) objected to Varner's paperwork, finding only 45 signatures within the district. A hearing is scheduled for 11:30 today.

The call yesterday was my first direct contact with Varner. He seems like a decent enough guy and I hope he stays involved at a lower stress level than candidate (I can vouch for that).

The challenge to Varner's paperwork isn't the only litigiousness in Des Moines. Three candidates - or rather one candidate and two are they or aren't they candidates - are challenging various decisions. Would-be GOP Senate Candidate Paul Lunde and Democrat "Iowa Party" Democrat Jonathan Narcisse for governor are suing to challenge their exclusion. 

Meanwhile, state senate candidate Ned Chiodo is appealing the decision to leave Democratic primary rival Tony Bisignano ON the ballot. Chiodo is arguing that Bisignano's second offense OWI is an "infamous crime" taking away his voting rights - an argument that could cost thousands of Iowans the right to vote if he prevails. The winner in all this may be Nathan Blake, the third candidate in the race.

The legalities are coming up against a tight deadline. In just 24 days, on April 19, overseas and military ballots have to go out, and in person voting starts five days later on the 24th.

Finally, from the Where Are They Now file: Former one term Republican Rep. Jeremy Taylor is running for the Woodbury County board of supervisors. Taylor won his House term in 2010, but lost to Democrat Chris Hall in the only 2012 member vs. member redistricting pairup that went all the way to the general election.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A choice for county attorney

A Deeth Blog Endorsement

I've long hoped someone in this town would run what I call "the Gonzo campaign," in reference to Hunter Thompson's almost successful run for sheriff in Colorado. He pledged to tear up and sod the streets, and promised not to take drugs... while on duty.

Someone's finally doing it. Recent UI law graduate John Zimmerman is challenging county attorney Janet Lyness in the June 3 Democratic primary, pledging to "end prosecutions for marijuana for personal use." There's even a pot leaf on the flyer.

So why, now that someone is finally doing what I've been begging for, am I supporting  Lyness instead?

Elections aren't just about platforms. They're about people.

Lyness doesn't like to blow her own horn, which is a liability in a campaign. Zimmerman likes to talk about "prosecutorial discretion," but that means more than just dropping cases you don't like. It  means doing things WITH discretion behind the scenes. Things you can't shout about without ruining their effectiveness. So in the job, aversion to self-promotion is one of Janet's strengths.

With a challenger's freedom to say anything, Zimmerman raises some legitimate issues, though there's a deliberate blurring of the distinction between "arrested," which the police do, and "prosecuted," which the county attorney does or does not do. His supporters are calling this election a choice between a "progressive" and a "conservative."

But even Johnson County doesn't lean left enough to call Lyness a "conservative." She has dedicated her life to helping rape and domestic violence victims. She drafted the county's first human rights ordinance in 2006. She's worked tirelessly to mitigate the consequences of bad laws and over-zealous policing - within the law as it is.

Janet Lyness is as progressive a person as I can imagine in the role of prosecutor. But diversions into drug court and treatment aren't good enough for Zimmerman's libertarian-left coalition. They want the arrests to not happen at all.

So do I. I'd like to do that by changing the law.

The Gonzo campaign is a rhetorical device. It isn't a legal brief. There's a certain Sticking It To The Man appeal in saying "I won't enforce laws I don't like," but that starts you down a long slippery slope toward George Wallace in the schoolhouse door. Do we really want to question our relationship to the rule of law, when drug law reform is approaching legitimate victory?

No, this is not a choice between a progressive and a conservative. It's a choice between a progressive, Lyness... and a radical. I don't use that word lightly. It is indeed a radical jurisprudence, that underscores Zimmerman's inexperience, to say "I won't prosecute cases under laws I disagree with." 

I think a county attorney could ethically say "I have to follow the law as it is, but here's something I'd like to see changed." But I'm a clerk, not a lawyer. That seems to be outside Janet's comfort zone. She sees that as the role of a legislator, not an officer of the court. I hope she can expand that comfort zone as this campaign continues. If not, it'll cost her some votes.

An attorney's relationship with the law, and how that grows over time, is hard for a non-attorney, or a fresh graduate, to understand. Janet Lyness has spend her adult life building it. It's a sign of her integrity that rather than grandstanding to gain political points, she is true to that relationship. She sees that role as mitigating the consequences and bringing some justice to the underlying problems. And she does that difficult, often thankless job remarkably well.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Braley Talks Health Care in Iowa City

Obamacare dominated a Saturday morning house party for Bruce Braley in Iowa City.

“Democrats are not going to win in 2014 by trying to hide from the Affordable Caree Act," Braley told the crowd of 75 or so at the home of Johnson County Dems chair Gerene Denning. "I am proud of the work I did to pass the Affordable Care Act."

“Without the affordable care act people would not have the opportunities to change jobs without worrying about preexisting conditions.  At that time 47 million people had no health care and we needed to do something about it. My friends who voted for it and lost have no regrets."

“I need you to be my voice in pushing back against false information,” Braley told the crowd, a solid blue group of Democratic activists. “Democrats care so deeply about policy we sometimes get bogged down in details and forget to have people tell their stories in a powerful and short way.”

When a questioner asked about single payer, Braley said he had favored a strong public option that was stripped out of the final bill, but “you have to crawl before you walk.”

Talk also turned to the horse race.  “I’ve already had over a million spent against me by the Koch brothers," Braley said. "It is relentless and we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

“We will not have 64 Obama field offices this year" like Democrats did in 2012.  Braley said. I will raise at least $2 million in addition to my own campaign to have the strongest field operation in Iowa.”

Looking at other races, Braley was optimistic about Jack Hatch, his partner at the top of the Democratic ticket. “Only 44% feel Terry Branstad deserves another term, and that is a great opportunity.” A strong challenge to Branstad is important because “If Branstad sees he has an easy race you KNOW he’ll be meddling in every other race."

Also noted: Steve King's opponent: “People don’t know how powerful a candidate Jim Mowrer is.”

I forgot the beret for the interview but should have worn it as I was having a bad no-hair day.

Is this typical where health care pretty much dominates?

Not necessarily because it depends on where you are and what's on people's minds. So obviously, when I was in Council Bluffs I talked to people about veterans issues at that diner that I visited, I talked to retired teachers about education issues, I talked to seniors who were there about protecting and preserving social security and medicare. There was a farmer sitting there, we talked about the farm bill and renewable fuels. So It just depends on what's on people's minds. But here in Iowa City, which is kind of the epicenter of state health care.

A lot of doctors here today...

Doctors, hospital administrators, and I think because people are very focused on the ongoing conversation here in Iowa City.

Why do you think the Affordable Care Act is a hard sell right now?

Because it was a very important piece of legislation and it has a lot of different components to it because health care is a $3 trillion business in the united states. And a lot of different things were included in the act to try to improve the delivery of health care and its efficiency by getting better outcomes. So it's taken a while for it to all roll out and it's something that people are even today still trying to figure out how it impacts their lives.

Part of what I'm thinking is the really really popular things like staying on your folks' till you're 26, preexisting conditions, kicked in faster. Now we're at the stage where people are having to sign up and it's confusing and of course there was the roll-out problem with the website.

Yeah, and that was a terrible problem because so many of us who worked so hard on the Affordable Care Act wanted that whole system to unfold the way it was intended to so people would have easy access to find out what type of coverage they were eligible for, what type of assistance they might be eligible for, and to get it done in a complete and succinct manner. And when people started to encounter problems, many of us who were in Congress were very upset about the problems and worked hard to try to get them fixed. And now anybody who wants to enrol is having a much easier time getting on finding out what's available and I think we're seeing a very significant increase here at the end of march in the number of people that are actually signing up.

Let's say you're with a more independent crowd and you're hearing about jobs and the economy, what kind of stuff are people thinking about?

Well the thing that I keep talking about is the minimum wage and the need to restore it. the reason for that is the minimum wage has lost 30% of its purchasing power since the last time it was increased. So restoring it means giving it back the same level of purchasing power and we know just from labor statistics that if we do that, according to the bill Senator Harkin and I have sponsored that 300,000 Iowans would see an increase in their pay. And that money then circulates in their communities because they have more to spend. And it also impacts other wages because if minimum wage is more reflective of what it takes to stay above the poverty level...

... it drives the other wages up.

... it drives the other wages up because people realize that you can't live below the poverty level working a minimum wage job.

We Democrats have just got a chronic problem in getting our folks excited about a midterm election. When the presidency's on the ballot, they're lined up for hours, but in a midterm we don't perform as well and Republicans are still able to get their people out. What can we do about that and what can you do about that as the name on the top of the ballot?

 Well, one of the things we have to do is inspire Democratic voters to want to come out and let them know that there are important reasons why their vote matters just as much in a midterm election as it does during a presidential election. Obviously a presidential race gets a lot of national publicity so it's easier to get people focused on going out to vote. but the reality is the last two years of President Obama's legacy will be defined by what we do on November 4th, in Iowa and other states around the country. So we're focusing on where we sometimes see a drop off in turnout, one of those places is among younger voters. So we're working very hard to establish strong support on college campuses. We know that some of those students are going to graduate in the spring and won't be coming back, so we're looking for leaders who will be coming back in the fall who can hit the ground running, help us make students aware of the choices in this election and how it's going to impact their futures. Same thing with high school voters who are going to be eligible to vote for the first time and want to vote now rather than waiting to vote in 2016 in the presidential election. We also know that there are a number of voters who traditionally don't show up as often in a midterm election, so we're trying to find ways to reach out to them. Younger voters don't watch the local nightly news near as much as our generation did, so we are doing a lot more on line to try to connect with them, things like Netflix, Hulu, other programming that they watch frequently so that we can try to find a way to connect with them.

I hear Facebook isn't cool anymore.

It changes so fast.

I'm not seeing your race showing up on the national top of the list races. It's almost as if they're saying "aww, Braley's gonna be OK" but you don't sound like you're taking anything for granted.

I see a lot of things that say the opposite. I see a lot of articles that say Iowa is definitely in play. When you look at what's happening, the fact that Mark Udall in Colorado now has a strong challenger, the fact that Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire will probably be running against a former incumbent senator, Scott Brown... All of those things will divert resources to help incumbent members of the Senate and that's why I'm working so hard to get around the state and build a strong ground game because that's what it's going to take to register voters, to get them to vote and for me to be successful in the Senate race.

That's always how Iowa Democrats do it.

That's how we do it.

Upcoming Events: March 24-31

The big event of the week is Wednesday at 5 PM: the filing deadline for county candidates. I have literally a front row seat for that one and will update later that night, surprises or not.

Janet Lyness won't br a surprise as she's made plans to turn her papers in Tuesday and follow that up with a post-filing party at Monica's on the Coralville Strip from 5 to 7 that evening. Refreshments and Pizza included, donations welcome.

Also on Tuesday, there's a noon Pentacrest "Rally for Women's Health and Separation of Church and State." It's timed to coincide with events in DC:
On March 25, at the same time of this rally, the US Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in two cases (referred to as the "Hobby Lobby" cases) that seek to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation's owners.
Sponsored by the League of Women Voters Johnson County. Co-sponsers include University of Iowa Democrats; Secular Students at UI; UI Feminist Union; Sisterhood of Agudas Achim.
DVIP's annual fundraiser is Thursday:
With $25 tickets, you get to pick one soup bowl which is donated by community members, antique stores, Fires Up through out the year. Many groups and organization collect the very unique and fun bowls. 

You can use your bowl to eat soups that are also donated by the famous restaurants around the town, while you are listening to the live music!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week In Review: March 17-23

Been in a posting slump this week as I write stuff for future publication and work on moving into new tech. Read this review slamming my new phone immediately after buying it:
At 6.3 inches, the Mega is conspicuously larger than just about everything else consumers are making calls on. It’s not only the largest phone on AT&T’s shelves, but it’s one of the largest phones in the world, and never for a second pretends to be anything other than just that.

Unfortunately, the Galaxy Mega is not only one of the largest phones on the market, but it’s also one of the worst. Shooting off an SMS takes brute strength and two meaty paws; making a phone call looks and feels ridiculous, despite what anyone graciously might tell you. The Mega is the most polarizing device in Samsung’s arsenal, and the tough love it’s been receiving from the skeptics as a poorly designed and gimmicky smartphone isn’t entirely unwarranted.

But perhaps all of us — consumers, Samsung, and AT&T — have got it all wrong. Maybe the Galaxy Mega is being unfairly judged as an awful smartphone when, in reality, it’s a fantastic tablet.
Which, since that's exactly how I'm using it, is fine by me. The problem with the big phone is... it's big? That's like the warning label Caution: our hot coffee is hot. The screen on this thing is as large as the screen on the vintage 2005 eeePC netbook I was blogging with a few months ago.

The state filing marathon is over. Tony Bisignano is ruled ON the ballot though Ned Chiodo will likely appeal to drag out the bad PR further. Daily Kos Elections officially called Senate Candidate Scott Schaben and 1st CD candidate Matthew Waldren Some Dude.

Locally, a few more folks filed. County attorney challenger John Zimmerman turned the paper in late last week (Week In Review was pre-empted last week by All 125 Districts) and incumbents Kim Painter (recorder) and supervisor Janelle Rettig filed theirs this past week.

The rumor mill reports that North Liberty council member Gerry Kuhl, who passed nomination papers at the January caucuses, will NOT file. So that leaves incumbent county attorney Janet Lyness (who plans to file Tuesday, Democratic supervisor candidate Mike Carberry (also planning to file early in the week) and incumbent Republican supervisor John Etheredge (who doesn't keep me in the inner circle on his plans).

Rettig picked up an Iowa City Federation of Labor endorsement Thursday night. At next month's meeting they decide whether to leave that as their only endorsement or to choose make a second endorsement between Carberry (who was late on the survey), Lisa Green-Douglass, or theoretically Etheredge (who, shockingly, didn't return the survey at all).

Ans there are reports that Jeb Bush is calling into Iowa. You know who's NOT calling Iowa? Hillary Clinton...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fraud Fixation Fails

The first big Iowa "voter fraud" trial is over and ends in an embarrassing failure, as a jury took less than an hour to find Kelli Jo Griffin not guilty.

Prosecutors couldn't have picked a weaker case. Griffin had completed their terms of her past sentencing and had been told by her attorney that she could re-register again after five years. She waited that long, and not being a political junkie like anyone reading this didn't know that the policy had changed during the intervening time. . When she voted the poll workers didn't catch her because she's remarried and changed her name.

Intent is critical here, and that's why most prosecutors are not pursuing these cases. Following Ryan Foley's excellent coverage of the trial, it looked to me like Lee County Attorney Michael Short had a chip on his shoulder about Griffin, perhaps from years back in the prior cases. Foley pushed the envelope of Objective Journalism to the edge in describing Short shouting in Griffin's face.

It seems, according to Short, that Griffin voting was part of some grand conspiracy to hide from her past. Ashamed to say Short is a Democrat and I hope he's getting a primary challenge.

Schultz shamelessly claimed “as a result of this case this individual will not cancel out the vote of anyone in the future.” Cut to 3rd CD debate. Mr. Schultz, what is your position on the crisis in Ukraine? "Voter fraud."

What's getting ignored here: move the timeline of this case back three years, to a 2005 conviction and a 2010 vote, and there's no problem. This only happened because Terry Branstad changed the policy on literally his first day back in office.

The case has served one purpose: it's scared a whole lot of people who have some trouble in their past, and now they're less likely to take a chance on exercising their rights. But the jury's fast verdict is another sign that the backlash is kicking in.

Legislative Race Grab Bag

Wednesday was the deadline for state and federal candidates to drop out of the June 3 primary. It looks like the only one who did was Jon Van Wyk, the primary challenger to Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill in House 28.

The drop-out sets up the November home school vs. home birth rematch between Heartsill and Democrat Megan Suhr. The Newton Daily News has an in-depth look at Van Wyk's residency problems. He was pretty blatantly carpetbagging in, but there's some question as to whether that bag was unpacked. No word on whether Matt Schultz will file voter fraud charges.

KMA Radio, home of the Everly Brothers and Jim Ross Lightfoot, has a good look at the Senate 11 Republican primary. My expertise in southwest Iowa internal Republican politics is weak, but I think I pegged this one right as a town vs. country fight as Council Bluffs city finance director Art Hill faces former Cattlemen's lobbyist Tom Shipley. Contrasting quotes:
"I'd like to make sure Iowa stays strong, economically," said Hill. "We're in a good position right now by not spending more than we're taking in. The leadership the Branstad Administration has demonstrated on fiscal years over the last handful of years has been good."

"The rural voice of Iowa needs to be heard," Shipley said. "As the demographics in Iowa change, we're losing more representation to urban areas. I think someone needs to be speak up for rural people--someone who has experience and background in that area."
This primary is decisive as Democrats have no candidate and no chance in a blood-red district.

If you're following the Branstad Buy-Out scandal, you may know that one of the former state employees, Pam Deichmann, is the Democratic challenger to Julian Garrett in Senate 13. Deichmann lost the special election for State House 25 to Stan Gustafson in January.

The Clinton Herald profiles Democrat Jay Saxon, running for open House 97 where Republican Steve Olson is retiring. And the Waterloo Courier talks to Walt Rogers' Democratic challenger, Karyn Finn.

Last and least: Tom Hoefling, the Some Dude primarying Terry Branstad, is challenging the governor to five debates. OO kay. "I am willing to debate any time, anywhere in the state, under any circumstance.”

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kajtazovic first with mailer in 1st CD

Anesa Kajtazovic looks like the first candidate in the five-way Democratic primary in the 1st CD to land with a broad-based direct mail piece.

Two separate pieces started landing in 1st District mailboxes: a broad introductory piece ("From a war-torn nightmare to fighting for the middle class American dream," with pictures of bombed-out Sarajevo, Bosnia included) and a "mom" piece in which Hadzira Kajtozovic takes on the job of introducing her daughter the candidate.

 Both pieces hit the same three issue bullet points:
  • "Fight for Social Security, Medicare, and fairness for middle class seniors" 
  • An immediate minimum wage increase to over $10 an hour 
  • and "Oppose the Republican War on Women and fight for pay equality."
No word on how much mail went out, but primary electorates are very finite and very predictable universes. When this seat (under quite different lines) was last open in 2006, there were just over 29,000 Democratic primary voters.

There's been no public polling to date in the race. Pat Murphy released an internal poll that showed him ahead but very close to the 35% required for a nomination.

If no one gets 35, the nomination is decided at convention. Kajtazovic locked in most of her home county support at the Black Hawk County convention a week ago, when the convention broke into preference groups. Only  Kajtazovic and Murphy were viable and Kajtazovic claimed about 70% of the delegates.

There's strong sentiment among Iowa Democrats that the state is long overdue to send a woman to Congress. Just today, Smart Politics published a study giving Iowa an F as one of only six state to never send a woman to the House of Representatives. Four of those states have had a female governor or US Senator, leaving just Iowa and Mississippi.

Two other women are in the 1st CD Democratic race, Swati Dandekar and Monica Vernon, but they share the same Linn County home base (along with Dave O'Brien). And Murphy isn't a universally loved candidate; if he were, he would have cleared the field like Bruce Braley did instead of attracting four rivals. If a convention goes to multiple ballots, and Kajtazovic comes in with  a strong showing on ballot one, she looks like a good second choice for Time For A Woman and Anyone But Murphy delegates.

Filing By The Numbers

After finishing the blogathon of All 125 Seats, I caught my breath and crunched a new numbers. While I was doing that Bleeding Heartland did a senate overview so I won't duplicate too much of that.

 Only 11 of the 25 Senate races have contested general elections at the moment. All are bunched in the partisan middle, with the top seven Democratic seats that are on this cycle unopposed, and the top six Republican seats also going uncontested. (This is using my oversimplified math of active registration, Ds minus Rs, which is just an easy approximation.)

The toughest races: Whoever comes out of the Senate 29 Republican primary to face Tod Bowman has to run in the #12 Democratic district overall (counting the holdovers, which are 12 Ds and 13 Rs). Democrat Maria Bribriesco is challenging Roby Smith in the #17 Republican seat. The only seat that's uncontested within that range is Matt McCoy's, the #13 Democratic seat.

The only Senate or House race with primaries on both sides is Senate 39, the #23 Democratic/#28 Republican seat. Sandy Greiner is retiring, but never ran in this version if the district which is half in Johnson County.
Moving over to the House:

At the moment there are 58 uncontested general election races. 26 seats have no Democrat and 32 no Republican.

Republicans have candidates in 68 seats, with 63 of those in their top 65 seats. The most vulnerable Democrats with byes for now (there can still be conventions till August) are Patti Ruff in House 56, their #26 seat, and John Forbes in House 40, their #37 target.

The GOP's toughest races for now are: Nathan Bolton in House 61 in Waterloo. That's the #80 Republican seat, but Republicans actually won it in 2006. The second toughest GOP seat, #70 on their depth chart, is one of their own: incumbent Brian Moore in House 58.

There are four seats with Republican primaries and no Democratic candidate: open House 1 and primary challenges for Jake Highfill, Dave Heaton and Stan Gustafson.

Five Four GOP incumbents have primary challenges: The three above plus Walt Rogers and Greg Heartsill (challenger dropped out). That's WAY down from 2012 when a dozen Republican incumbents got challenges. Part of that is that 2012 was the first election after redistricting, but some of that was the in-fighting within the Iowa Republican party in general.

Democrats have candidates in 74 seats, including all of their top 46 seats and three gaps in the top 65. The uncontested Republicans are tougher targets than the unopposed Dems: Tom Sands at #47, Kevin Koester at #50 and Larry Sheets at #51. Note that even after the August nominating convention deadline, Pat Murphy had only recruited 70 candidates.

There are three Democratic primaries: the open Pat Murphy and Tyler Olson seats and an odd primary challenge to Vicki Lensing in Iowa City.

The Democrat with the toughest uphill fight is Tim Ennis challenging Jack Drake in House 20, the #10 GOP seat.

Democrats are challenging 22 Republican incumbents, while the Republicans are taking on just 13 Democratic incumbents.

And finally, the lucky duck of the year is former Republican senator Mike Sexton. He looks likely to walk into Tom Shaw's House 10 with no primary or general election opponent. Still not as good as Nancy Dunkel last cycle: she walked into a seat held by the other party with no opposition.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

All The Legislative Races

I think this is the fifth cycle I've done this bit: an extremely brief look at every legislative race. (I got more elaborate last cycle with District Of The Day, still a handy reference.)

I leave the top of the ballot races to other writers. And my district numbers below are simplified but a good comparison: Active registrations as of March 1, with "Most Democratic" measured by D Minus R. I'm of the school that so-called "independents" break the way the partisans do. Unlike last cycle, I left out the holdover Senate seats. And I ran out of ways to say "unopposed" by about House 80. Links go to maps.

Senate District 1
Registration: D 8510, R 18657, N 13760, total 40956, R +10147
David Johnson (R) incumbent

Senate District 3
Registration: D 9229, R 15927, N 13227, total 38435, R +6698
Bill Anderson (R) incumbent

No contests in these deep red seats. All the excitement was years ago and outside the ballot box: the map coaxing a retirement out of Democrat Jack Kibbie who was paired up with Johnson, and Anderson clearing the field in 2010.

Senate District 5
Registration: D 11107, R 11980, N 14913, total 38042, R +873
Daryl Beall (D) incumbent

Beall faces Republican Tim Kraayenbrink in a top tier race. Beall's personal popularity should overcome the narrow on-paper Republican edge.

Senate District 7
Registration: D 11468, R 8748, N 10054, total 30330, D +2720
Rick Bertrand (R) incumbent

Republican incumbent Rick Bertrand won a contentious to the point of litigious race by just a couple hundred votes in the 2010 wave, so he has a target on his back in this Democratic leaning seat. Two Democrats are facing off to face him: Jim France and Maria Rundquist. Both lost Sioux City council races last year. Rundquist is a leading activist in the Hispanic community and maybe could help boost Woodbury County's historically low turnout.

Senate District 9
Registration: D 9632, R 13967, N 12577, total 36219, R +4335
OPEN Nancy J. Boettger (R) incumbent, retiring

Smooth handoff: House 18 Rep. Jason Schultz announced here the same day Boettger retired, no one else filed.

Senate District 11
Registration: D 8633, R 18466, N 13873, total 40997, R +9833
OPEN Hubert Houser (R) incumbent, retiring

Looks like a farms vs. exurbs race in the southwest corner. Tom Shipley of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association faces Art Hill, finance director for the city of Council Bluffs in a decisive primary in the state's second most Republican district. Hill lives in the tiny piece of the city of Council Bluffs proper that is outside Mike Gronstal's district.

Senate District 13
Registration: D 12197, R 14017, N 14405, total 40671, R +1820
Julian B. Garrett (R) incumbent

Senate 13 is looking way less interesting than it did six months ago. Kent Sorenson alienated almost everyone and put the future of the caucuses at risk by getting bought off not once, but twice. Dems were hoping the fatally damaged Sorenson would stay viable just long enough to get through a primary.

But Sorenson resigned, defiantly, in the fall.  Republicans nominated their least crazy candidate, Rep. Julian Garrett, over three others, and he easily beat ex-Rep. Mark Davitt for the Dems.

Garrett will face Iowa Public Health Association president Pam Deichmann in the fall. She was the Democratic nominee in the House special to replace Garrett, but lost 70-30% to Stan Gustafson in January.

Senate District 15
Registration: D 14234, R 12395, N 13591, total 40262, D +1839
OPEN Dennis H. Black (D) incumbent, retiring

Every year there's a deadline week surprise. This year it was Democrat Dennis Black stepping down in Newton-Altoona Senate 15 after 32 years in the legislature. Former Newton Mayor Chaz Allen promptly announced for the Democrats, making me think this has been in the works for a bit. The GOP field is Mitchellville mayor Jeremy Filbert and Crystal Bruntz, an HR executive with Kum & Go. Two other candidates sidetracked to the district's two House races.

Senate District 17
Registration: D 15794, R 6631, N 10359, total 32888, D +9163
OPEN Jack Hatch (D) incumbent, running for governor

Already the ugliest primary in the state. Ned Chiodo is challenging Tony Bisignano's nomination because of a January OWI; even if the challenge fails it keeps the legal trouble in the spotlight. They play rough on the south side. Nathan Blake is also in the race for this absolutely safe Democratic district.

Senate District 19
Registration: D 12034, R 15464, N 13498, total 41076, R +3430
Jack Whitver (R) incumbent

Whitver has served four full sessions but this is his first general election. He won a hurry-up special when Larry Noble resigned to take a Branstad administration job in January 2011.
(Glossary: A "hurry-up special" is either between the general election and the legislative session, or during the session itself. It has a very short timeline. You can go from vacancy to swearing in within less than a month.) No Democrat filed; Whitver won the 2011 special 2 to 1.

Whitver faces a nuisance primary against perennial candidate Brett Nelson. In 2012 Nelson lost a House Republican primary to Kevin Koester 85-15%, and, undeterred, lost to Koester again as an independent in the general. (He also lost a primary to Koester in `08.)

Senate District 21
Registration: D 16045, R 11875, N 11424, total 39462, D +4170
Matt McCoy (D) incumbent

This district is less Democratic than the one McCoy last won in 2010, but Democratic enough that the Republicans aren't fielding anyone. Question: If Tom Latham had retired earlier, before everyone had committed to Staci Appel, would Matt be in a different race?

Senate District 23
Registration: D 11226, R 8995, N 13294, total 33694, D +2231
Herman C. Quirmbach (D) incumbent

This one's interesting. Republicans recruited Ames city council member Jeremy Davis, who stepped down from the city council for the race.The numbers ate good for Dems, but they sensed some vulnerability for Quirmbach.

So did Democrat Cynthia Oppedal Paschen, who is primarying Quirmbach. Like Iowa City, Ames has a tradition of electing female legislators, and some folks were miffed when Quirmbach narrowly beat Karen Bolluyt in the 2002 primary on the retirement of Johnie Hammond (additional history: Johnie is female). Add to that the committee confrontation between Quirmbach and Republican Amy Sinclair, and it seems like Quirmbach might have a problem here. “I usually can appreciate the way Herman votes," says Paschen bluntly, "but sometimes he’s not the easiest to get along with.” 

Senate District 25
Registration: D 8559, R 15721, N 15021, total 39347, R +7162
Bill Dix (R) incumbent

The Minority Leader is in District 25. But 26 is the number he wants. He won't have to spend any time on his own uncontested race. With these numbers, he wouldn't need to even with an opponent. Biggest obstacle to a second term was redistricting, but paired-up co-incumbent Rob Bacon got the hint and switched over to the House in 2012.

Senate District 27
Registration: D 11013, R 12605, N 16137, total 39787, R +1592
Amanda Ragan (D) incumbent

Republicans Shawn Dietz (an ex-mayor) and Timothy Junker (a former sheriff) face off in to oppose Ragan in the most Republican seat held by a Democrat. But she won her first race on tougher turf than this.

Senate District 29
Registration: D 14701, R 10326, N 17152, total 42220, D +4375
Tod Bowman (D) incumbent

Bowman is making his first re-election run on much-changed turf in Senate 29. He keeps his Maquoketa base but instead of going south into Clinton he goes north into rural Dubuque County. In the Clinton-based old district he was a 71 vote winner in 2010, becoming the only Democratic freshman that year.

In the Republican primary, Some Dude James Budde of Bellevue faces former Dyersville mayor Jim Heavens, who lost the 2010 state treasurer primary and his 2013 re-election race.

Senate District 31
Registration: D 15579, R 6173, N 13411, total 35212, D +9406
William A. Dotzler Jr. (D) incumbent

Nothing going on here in Waterloo, in the second most Democratic seat.

Senate District 33
Registration: D 15161, R 10231, N 13741, total 39232, D +4930
Robert Hogg (D) incumbent

Hogg will also coast into a third term with no opposition as yet.

Senate District 35
Registration: D 15358, R 8335, N 15003, total 38779, D +7023
Wally E. Horn (D) incumbent

The senior legislator, Democrat Wally Horn, shows no signs of stepping down. That didn't deter Lance Lefebure from filing in the Democratic primary. Here's the twist: Lefebure was a late starting 2012 House candidate in half of this district - as a REPUBLICAN challenging Todd Taylor. He's the first opponent Horn has seen, primary or general, since 1990. James Lynch looks at it.

Senate District 37
Registration: D 14566, R 9725, N 13478, total 37859, D +4841
Robert E. Dvorsky (D) incumbent

Dvorsky's district gets less blue as he gains Cedar County, but he's still solid enough that no one bothered to challenge him.

Senate District 39
Registration: D 12225, R 12408, N 14799, total 39482, R +183
OPEN Sandra H. Greiner (R) incumbent, retiring

Two primaries in a swing seat that's critical to both parties. Not counting the next race below, this is the best chance for a Democratic gain.

In the Democratic primary, Kevin Kinney of Oxford faces Rich Gilmore of Washington. Kinney is a deputy sheriff and school board member, Gilmore a former party chair who's lost a supervisor race.

The winner faces one of three Republicans. Mike Moore of Washington runs a care center and has been on school board and city council. He faces former Tiffin mayor Royce Phillips and Bob Anderson, a GOP state central committee member and former Johnson County Republican chair.

Senate District 41
Registration: D 13608, R 10546, N 11951, total 36188, D +3062
Mark Chelgren (R) incumbent

The most Democratic seat held by a Republican is Senate 41. Mark "Chickenman" Chelgren, best known for naked RAGBRAI rides, caught the wave and blindsided Democrat Keith Kreiman by 10, count `em 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 recount 'em 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 freakin' votes in 2010.

Chickenman has had a target on him from Day One, and hasn't changed an abrasive style. He's got two Democratic challengers: former Ottumwa superintendent Tom Rubel and long time county supervisor Steve Siegel.

Senate District 43
Registration: D 19658, R 7411, N 15763, total 43113, D +12247
Joe Bolkcom (D) incumbent

My senator has the most Democratic district in the state and has never seen an Republican opponent (an independent tried once).

Senate District 45
Registration: D 14830, R 6992, N 15691, total 37560, D +7838
Joe M. Seng (D) incumbent

Seng's record is too conservative for this deep blue district, and he made a lot of enemies with his a bizarre 2012 primary challenge to Dave Loebsack, which he lost 80-20%. Now he has a primary challenger of his own in Senate 45... but not the viable progressive we were hoping for. Some Dude Mark Riley was Seng's Republican opponent in 2010, then ran against Rep. Cindy Winckler as an independent in 2012. I'd probably still vote for him over Seng anyway.

Senate District 47
Registration: D 12278, R 14249, N 17168, total 43748, R +1971
Roby Smith (R) incumbent

Smith is the first Republican to escape a primary in the Bettendorf district in a couple cycles. (David Hartsuch knocked off Maggie Tinsman in 2006, but lost to Smith in 2010.)  Democrat Maria Bribriesco lost a 2012 House race to Linda Miller, but scored a respectable 44.5% in the tougher half of the Senate seat.

Senate District 49
Registration: D 12450, R 9760, N 16668, total 38914, D +2690
Rita Hart (D) incumbent

This was the only odd-number seat with no incumbent after redistricting, so Clinton Democrat Rita Hart ran for a shortened two year term in 2012. Now with the seat back on the governor year cycle, she faces Clinton County Republican supervisor Brian Schmidt.

House District 1
Registration: D 3223, R 11833, N 6023, total 21093, R +8610
OPEN Jeff Smith (R) incumbent, retiring

Kevin Wolfswinkel primaried Smith from the right and from the new turf in 2012, and came close with 45%. Smith got the hint and retired. Wolfswinkel now faces Kevin Klaassen and John Wills in the #2 Republican district. 

House District 2
Registration D 5287, R 6824, N 7737, total 19863, R +1537
Megan Hess (R) incumbent

This is the least red district in this corner of the state but Hess comfortably beat a good Democratic candidate in 2012 when the seat was new. That was enough to avoid any 2014 competition.

House District 3
Registration D 3494, R 9791, N 6572, total 19878, R +6297
Daniel A. Huseman (R) incumbent

Huseman last saw an opponent in 2008 (he only won 58% but his new turf is redder). His biggest headache was redistricting, solved when Royd Chambers retired after they were paired up. Huseman's Democratic opponent this year is Greg Fritzche of Primghar. He ran for O'Brien County supervisor and lost, badly, in 2012. He's likely to lose badly again in the third most Republican seat in the state.

House District 4
Registration D 1467, R 13090, N 3420, total 17994, R +11623
Dwayne Alons (R) incumbent

I have trouble believing there's even THAT many Democrats in this seat, the most Republican in the state. There certainly aren't any who'll run for this.

House District 5
Registration D 3931, R 8908, N 6790, total 19649, R +4977
Chuck Soderberg (R) incumbent

A Some Dude ran against Soderberg in maybe 2008 and lost about 85-15%.

House District 6
Registration: D 5298, R 7019, N 6437, total 18786, R +1721
Ron Jorgensen (R) incumbent

Jorgensen had a serious primary from Matthew Ung in 2012 but gets a bye this time.

House District 7
Registration D 5556, R 6420, N 8037, total 20028, R +864
Tedd Gassman (R) incumbent

Democratic veteran and ex-policeman Dave Grussing of Armstrong is  challenging  Gassman, who knocked off Democrat John Wittneben by just 44 votes in 2012.

House District 8
Registration D 4705, R 7989, N 7157, total 19856, R +3284
Henry V. Rayhons (R) incumbent

Democrat Nancy Paule Huisinga, an RN from Clarion, will challenge Henry Rayhons.

House District 9
Registration D 6721, R 4772, N 6580, total 18087, D +1949
Helen Miller (D) incumbent

Miller had a close race in wave year 2010 from a guy who'd announced as an independent before filing as a Republican, but that looks like just a fluke now, as no Republican filed.

House District 10
Registration D 4386, R 7208, N 8333, total 19955, R +2822
OPEN Tom Shaw (R) incumbent, retiring

Shaw must have gotten lonely without his Krazy Kaucus pals Kim Pearson and Glen Massie, who each bailed in 2012 after one term. The primaries up here have been contentious - the other 2012 primaries were challenges from the right but Shaw was challenged by a moderate  - but this time former (1998-2002) Republican senator Mike Sexton walks into a nomination with no opposition. This was the old Dolores Mertz seat, but no Democrat filed.

House District 11
Registration D 4246, R 6851, N 7288, total 18397, R +2605
Gary Worthan (R) incumbent

Nothing interesting has happened in this seat since Worthan took over in a hurry-up special in 2006.

House District 12
Registration D 5754, R 6125, N 8518, total 20429, R +371
Daniel Muhlbauer (D) incumbent

Brian Best, a Carroll Republican, is challenging Muhlbauer, who's been blessed with weak opponents and a good family name in greater metro Carroll.

House District 13
Registration D 5411, R 4746, N 5194, total 15384, D +665
Chris Hall (D) incumbent

In Sioux City it looks like an easier race for Hall than last cycle when he was in the only two House incumbent general election race in the state against Jeremy Taylor.  GOP challenger Nick Noyes is a student and a Sam Clovis co-chair (See last definition here and see if it applies.) 

House District 14
Registration D 6057, R 4002, N 4860, total 14946, D +2055
Dave Dawson (D) incumbent

Sioux City Democrat Dawson won an empty House 14 seat in 201; it was basically Jeremy Taylor's seat district without his precinct. The Republicans don't have anyone yet.

House District 15
Registration D 5597, R 4137, N 5914, total 15678, D +1460
OPEN Mark Brandenburg (R) incumbent, running for county recorder

House District 16
Registration D 5117, R 5615, N 6140, total 16909, R +498
Mary Ann Hanusa (R) incumbent

Council Bluffs was a weak spot for Democratic recruiting in 2012 but this cycle they look stronger. 15 is the more Democratic of the two seats and the Democrats are running labor activist Charlie McConkey. Republicans have a primary between John Blue and Council Bluffs school board member Troy Arthur.

In House 16 attorney Marti Nerenston is challenging Republican incumbent Mary Ann Hanusa. Democrats have held both these seats with the last decade.

House District 17
Registration D 4930, R 7088, N 6732, total 18766, R +2158
Matt W. Windschitl (R) incumbent

Democrat Kenneth Mertes of Onawa hopes to put a silencer on Windschitl, the legislature's leading gun absolutist.

House District 18
Registration D 4702, R 6879, N 5845, total 17453, R +2177
OPEN Jason Schultz (R) incumbent, running for state senate

Steve Holt had a co-announcement when Schultz announced for the Senate, the very day Nancy Boettger retired. So I'll pick him as the favorite over student Dillon Malone of Dow City, "a young conservative guided by traditional values." Democrats are running Paul Thelen of Vail in this red seat.

House District 19
Registration D 4833, R 8229, N 8553, total 21640, R +3396
Ralph C. Watts (R) incumbent

Nothing to see here.

House District 20
Registration D 4844, R 6310, N 7441, total 18619, R +1466
Clel Baudler (R) incumbent

There were rumors that Republican state central committee Joel Kurtinitis, of the Big Liberty faction, was planning to primary Baudler, the legislature's biggest barrier to medical marijuana. That didn't happen, unfortunately, but Clel did get Democratic opposition from trails advocate Steve Roe of Panora.

House District 21
Registration D 3945, R 8290, N 7316, total 19567, R +4345
Jack Drake (R) incumbent

Democrat Tim Ennis of Corning, a farmer active in the National Farmer's Organization (the progressive alternative to Farm Bureau) is challenging Drake.

House District 22
Registration D 4688, R 10176, N 6557, total 21430, R +5488
Greg Forristall (R) incumbent

House District 23
Registration D 3846, R 9307, N 6198, total 19371, R +5461
Mark Costello (R) incumbent

House District 24
Registration D 3405, R 8363, N 5816, total 17598, R +4958
Cecil Dolecheck (R) incumbent

A whole lot of nothing in the state's southwest corner. No primaries, no Democratic candidates. All three of these seats saw primaries two years ago.

House District 25
Registration D 5727, R 7429, N 7419, total 20600, R +1702
Stan Gustafson (R) incumbent

The persistent Joan Acela is back, making her fourth try in House 25. The former Madison County supervisor lost the primary to Julian Garrett when the seat was open in 2010, primaried him again in 2012, then lost to Stan Gustafson at the nominating convention when Garrett went to the senate. So, naturally, she's now primarying Gustafson. The Democratic line is blank.

I may be wrong but there seems to be a Warren vs. Madison thing here, at least based on the past primary returns. Or maybe she just announced first and thinks that entitles her to the seat. (See House 73.)

House District 26
Registration D 6470, R 6588, N 6986, total 20071, R +118
Scott Ourth (D) incumbent

Democrat Scott Ourth of Warren County filed for a second term in House 26. Republican Eric Durbin of Indianola and Des Moines policeman James Butler are in for the Rs. Ourth is a strong candidate, but he lost in 2010 to tea partier Glen Massie so watch this space.

House District 27
Registration D 5017, R 5905, N 6212, total 17154, R +888
Joel Fry (R) incumbent

Fry knocked off Democrat Mike Reasoner in an unanticipated 2010 upset, then beat a Some Dude in the primary and an independent in the general last cycle. This term he appears to have a strong on paper Democratic opponent in Fred Diehl, mayor of Osceola.
House District 28
Registration D 5424, R 6820, N 7018, total 19277, R +1396
Greg Heartsill (R) incumbent

Republican Jon Van Wyk of Sully, it says here (residence has been an issue in this race) is primarying freshman Heartsill. Democrat Megan Suhr is making a second run. Suhr won 44% against Heartsill in the open seat 2012 race. UPDATE March 20; Residency was enough of an issue that Van Wyk dropped out, so the Heartsill-Suhr rematch is set.

House District 29
Registration D 7625, R 5404, N 6801, total 19839, D +2221
Daniel Kelley (D) incumbent

Newton Republican Patrick Payton initially announced for state senate but withdrew from that race. Instead he'll challenge Democratic incumbent Dan Kelley in this race.

House District 30
Registration D 6609, R 6991, N 6790, total 20423, R +382
Joe Riding (D) incumbent

Zach Nunn of Bondurant, who like Payton also started in the Senate 15 race, is challenging Altoona Democrat Joe Riding. This was the Geri Huser-Kim Pearson seat so weird stuff can happen.

House District 31
Registration D 7479, R 4364, N 5425, total 17297, D +3115
Rick Olson (D) incumbent

House District 32
Registration D 7642, R 2543, N 4436, total 14666, D +5099
Ruth Ann Gaines (D) incumbent

House District 33
Registration D 7672, R 3114, N 4981, total 15810, D +4558
Brian Meyer (D) incumbent

House District 34
Registration D 8122, R 3517, N 5378, total 17078, D +4605
Bruce L. Hunter (D) incumbent

House District 35
Registration D 7219, R 2092, N 4047, total 13393, D +5127
Ako Abdul-Samad (D) incumbent

House District 36
Registration D 9120, R 4971, N 5813, total 19963, D +4149
Marti Anderson (D) incumbent

That is a whole lot of uncontested races in a row right in the heart of Des Moines. Is there a strategery here? Let sleeping dogs lie and keep the eyes on the big prizes of governor, senator and US House?

Sure, those are all strong Democratic seats, but last cycle the Republicans recruited a whole mess o' Some Dudes and Liberty minions for these seats, sometimes from the convention audience. Sometimes they were even having primaries for the right to lose.

This Is Where Your District Went
Registration D 5721, R 8858, N 7232, total 21854, R +3137
John Landon (R) incumbent

Landon is seeking his second term in This Is Where Your District Went, known to people who don't read my blog as House 37. Landon finished third in a six way primary, with just 16.5%, when the district was new in 2012, but won the nomination 12 to 11 at a convention. I expected that would lead someone to seek a rematch but instead Landon will get his first primary win as a walkover. No Democrat yet either.

House District 38
Registration D 6313, R 6606, N 6266, total 19222, R +293
Kevin Koester (R) incumbent

His perennial primary challenger Brett Nelson want to lose to Jack Whitver in the Senate seat instead this year, so Koester draws a bye. This seat is right on the line for House control, #50 most Democratic, but they didn't field anyone.

House District 39
Registration D 5722, R 8725, N 7335, total 21829, R +3003
Jake Highfill (R) incumbent

Highfill was the only one of a dozen GOP primary challengers to knock off an incumbent (Erik Helland) in 2012. That was after he filed an ethics complaint charging that Helland had tried to nudge Highfill out of the race with a job offer.

But post-primary, stories surfaced about some scrapes with the law Highfill had in his not so long ago college days here in the People's Republic. The district's party demographics carried Highfill to a decent but not great win over an OK Democratic opponent, but it wasn't hard to anticipate a primary here.yet it's not a shock that someone sees an opportunity.

But Highfill is helped by drawing TWO opponents to split the vote: Urbandale teacher Jerry Kinder representing the grownups and Taylor Egly, recent Iowa chair of Young Americans for Liberty, representing the Pauls.  

House District 40
Registration D 6430, R 7417, N 6024, total 19900, R +987
John Forbes (D) incumbent

Surprised the Republicans aren't making an effort in this seat, one of the most Republican districts in Democratic hands.

House District 41
Registration D 9635, R 4819, N 5193, total 19708, D +4816
Jo Oldson (D) incumbent

See 31-36 Above.

House District 42
Registration D 6410, R 7056, N 6231, total 19754, R +646
Peter Cownie (R) incumbent

Democrat Daniel Fessler of West Des Moines, a recent Iowa State grad, is challenging Cownie.

House District 43
Registration D 6790, R 7543, N 5573, total 19941, R +753
Chris Hagenow (R) incumbent

Two Democrats face off for the right to challenge Hagenow: Cleaning service owner Nicholas Dreeszen of West Des Moines and Kim Robinson of Clive.

House District 44
Registration D 4478, R 7708, N 8537, total 20744, R +3230
Rob Taylor (R) incumbent

Democrats made an effort here in 2012 when the seat was new but Taylor won easily enough to scare off challengers.

House District 45
Registration D 5749, R 4481, N 6884, total 17192, D +1268
Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D) incumbent

House District 46
Registration D 5477, R 4514, N 6410, total 16502, D +963
Lisa Heddens (D) incumbent

All the action in Ames is in the Senate race as Heddens and BW-K get byes for now.

House District 47
Registration D 6061, R 6287, N 7725, total 20100, R +226
Chip Baltimore (R) incumbent

Baltimore upset Donovan Olson in 2010 and won the rematch in 2012 by a bigger margin. Two other Democrats are trying this time: Mark Trueblood and Hans Erickson.

House District 48
Registration D 5652, R 6716, N 7728, total 20120, R +1064
Rob Bacon (R) incumbent

Smart move: Instead of a nasty post-redistricting Senate primary against Bill Dix that he would have lost. Bacon gets to settle in and coast in an unopposed House re-election.

House District 49
Registration D 4622, R 6928, N 7829, total 19404, R +2306
Dave Deyoe (R) incumbent

Democrat Kevin Ericson of Maxwell wants a rematch. Deyoe won round one 60-40 in 2012.

House District 50
Registration D 3937, R 8793, N 7192, total 19943, R +4856
Pat Grassley (R) incumbent

Grundy Center Democrat Doris Fritz is challenging Pat Grassley in red turf in House 50. Democrats had no candidate last cycle.

House District 51
Registration D 5356, R 6156, N 7813, total 19338, R +800
Joshua Byrnes (R) incumbent

Laura Hubka of Riceville is the Democrat challenging Byrnes.

House District 52
Registration D 6255, R 5021, N 8822, total 20112, D +1234
Todd Prichard (D) incumbent

Prichard is going into his first general election cycle in House 52. He was a comfortable special election winner when Brian Quirk quit immediately after getting re-elected in 2012, and for now that's scared off any opposition.

House District 53
Registration D 6883, R 4430, N 8433, total 19760, D +2453
Sharon S. Steckman (D) incumbent

House District 54
Registration D 4130, R 8175, N 7704, total 20027, R +4045
Linda L. Upmeyer (R) incumbent

One red seat, one blue seat, and no opponents, with all the excitement in Amanda Ragan's Senate race. Republicans held Steckman's seat most of the 2000s; a 2012 challenge to Upmeyer fell through.

House District 55
Registration D 5114, R 6479, N 6893, total 18522, R +1365
OPEN Roger Thomas (D) incumbent, retiring

A long discussed retirement got Officially announced late, though the locals were well aware. Thomas held on in 2012 to keep this tough seat, which could be even tougher in a non-presidential year. Darrel Branhagen the Republican; Democrat Rick Edwards is the former  Decorah Parks and Recreation director.

House District 56
Registration D 5006, R 7012, N 7348, total 19374, R +2006
Patti Ruff (D) incumbent

With Thomas retiring, Patti Ruff now has the most Republican House seat held by a Democrat, the #76 Democratic seat. Yet she didn't get a Republican filing against her in the state's northeast corner. Ruff knocked off one term Republican Bob Hager in 2012, who knocked off one term Democrat John Beard in 2010.

House District 57
Registration D 7248, R 5826, N 8432, total 21528, D +1422
Nancy Dunkel (D) incumbent

Dunkel took over the rural Dubuque County seat, technically held by Republican Steve Lukan but heavily redistricted, in 2012 without a primary OR general election opponent. This time Republican Ryan Kilburg of Zwingle is challenging her.

House District 58
Registration D 7453, R 4500, N 8720, total 20692, D +2953
Brian Moore (R) incumbent

Retiring Maquoketa superintendent Kim Huckstadt (male) is the Democratic challenger to Brian Moore in House 58, the most Democratic seat (22nd best) held by a Republican.

House District 59
Registration D 5335, R 5049, N 7634, total 18096, D +286
Bob M. Kressig (D) incumbent

Rick Giarusso, a Cedar Falls Republican, is challenging perennial target Kressig.

House District 60
Registration D 5764, R 6812, N 7876, total 20476, R +1048
Walt Rogers (R) incumbent

Rogers is going with Plan B after surprisingly ending his congressional campaign. He gets a primary challenge from Some Dude Jason Welch, who ran for the old 3rd CD in 2010, when he lived in Knoxville.

Hudson School Board member Karyn Finn is in for the Democrats in House 60, hoping to become - not obvious from her name - the first Latina legislator.  

House District 61
Registration D 6850, R 3827, N 6977, total 17676, D +3023
OPEN Anesa Kajtazovic (D) incumbent, running for Congress

The people who thought Kajtazovic was going to pull a Walt Rogers and drop back into this race seriously underestimate Anesa. Three Democrats are looking to replace the future congresswoman:  Timi Brown-Powers, Andrew Miller and Brad Condon. The winner draws Republican veteran Nathan Bolton.

House District 62
Registration D 8729, R 2346, N 6434, total 17536, D +6383
Deborah L. Berry (D) incumbent

With a temporary bump in Iowa City no party registration caused by last fall's 21 Bar vote, Berry can now claim the most Democratic district by registration in the state. This explains the lack of a Republican opponent. Enjoy it while it lasts, Deb: a hot local primary in Johnson will bump Lensing and Mascher's seats back up to the top in June.

House District 63
Registration D 4773, R 6255, N 9234, total 20284, R +1482
Sandy Salmon (R) incumbent

Salmon, a 2010 primary loser, beat former Senator Bill Heckroth, probably the strongest possible opponent, in November 2012. This year she faces Teresa Meyer of Waverly.

House District 64
Registration D 5534, R 4404, N 8363, total 18316, D +1130
Bruce Bearinger (D) incumbent

This seat was technically a Democratic gain for Bruce Bearinger last cycle. But the turf had changed a lot. Republican Dan Rasmussen retired at the last minute, and the GOP dropped the ball on candidate recruitment. Craig Johnson, head of the Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, is running on the GOP side in House 64. This could split on both party and geographic lines, with Bearinger from Oelwein.

House District 65
Registration D 8307, R 4363, N 6438, total 19157, D +3944
OPEN Tyler Olson (D) incumbent, retiring

How different would everything in state politics be today if Olson's run for governor hadn't crashed? Olson opted not to get back into his House race, where two Democrats were already running. Liz Bennett will face Cedar Rapids school board member Gary Anhalt. No Republican filed.

House District 66
Registration D 6854, R 5868, N 7303, total 20075, D +986
Art Staed (D) incumbent

Staed won one term in 2006, lost by 13 votes to Renee Schulte in 2008, then came back to beat Schulte in 2012 after the new map improved the turf. Schulte was frequenly rumored for a comeback or a run for something else, but no contest here yet.

House District 67
Registration D 5587, R 6776, N 8024, total 20425, R +1189
Kraig Paulsen (R) incumbent

Democrats made a game run at the speaker in 2012 with Mark Seidl, who has lost a 2010 race to Renee Schulte on worse turf. This cycle, there's no local opponent to distract him from working for his other candidates.

House District 68
Registration D 6411, R 6029, N 8174, total 20658, D +382
Daniel Lundby (D) incumbent

Freshman Democrat Daniel Lundby had a familiar name - his mom Mary was a legendary Republican legislator - and a district improved in redistricting, and knocked off GOP incumbent Nick Wagner in 2012. This time he'll face Republican Ken Rizer.

House District 69
Registration D 7353, R 3677, N 7437, total 18516, D +3676
Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D) incumbent

House District 70
Registration D 8005, R 4658, N 7566, total 20263, D +3347
Todd E. Taylor (D) incumbent

Quiet re-elections for the west Cedar Rapids incumbents.

House District 71
Registration D 5461, R 4985, N 6408, total 16865, D +476
Mark D. Smith (D) incumbent

Smith making his first run since taking over the House Democratic leadership after Kevin McCarthy's resignation last fall. Of course, Mark's real job is to elect 50 colleagues so he can move from minority leader to Speaker.

While his role is new his rival is all too familiar. Jane Jech (pronounced yeccch) is back for the fourth straight cycle. After losing to Smith in the 2008 and 2010 House races, she upset Larry McKibben in the 2012 Senate 36 primary, before going on to lose to Steve Sodders in a high priority race. All eastern Iowans remember the cheesy "No, Jane, no" ads that ran on broadcast TV that fall.

This cycle, Jech is back to challenge Smith again. Which begs the question: Most persistent loser on this year's ballot? Jech, Brett Nelson in Senate 19, Joan Acela in House 25, or West Branch David Johnson in House 73? All are on their fourth tries for the legislature. I'll have to go with Nelson because he's never won anything. Jech won community college board seat once, a tough primary in 2012 AND made it close in 2010, losing by just 300. Acela was a county supervisor and Johnson won a single term on the city council.

House District 72
Registration D 5475, R 6198, N 8093, total 19786, R +723
Dean Fisher (R) incumbent

Fisher won an open House 72 fairly easily in 2012 after the Democrats' preferred candidate couldn't get through the primary. This cycle, Iowa Veterans Home employee Ben Westphal got the full House Dems Press Release roll-out that serious challengers get. 

House District 73
Registration D 6304, R 5673, N 7553, total 19567, D +631
Bobby Kaufmann (R) incumbent

The ultimate in smooth handoffs in 2012 as incumbent Jeff Kaufmann announced his retirement on a Friday evening a week before deadline, then showed up at county conventions the next day with his son. But this was only half the battle. This is one of the best Democratic seats held by a Republican, #39 most Democratic, and thus critical to control.

But Democrats have been hurt here by in-fighting. The ugly primary last cycle didn't end once it was over. (I'll spare the statewide audience the local details.) That may or may not have changed the outcome, but Kaufmann won fairly comfortably for a first timer in a tough seat.

David Johnson of West Branch, the loser in that primary, has been running since Map Day in 2011 (barely stopping during the 2012 general), and is now making his fourth run, counting two in the 1990s: one as an independent and one as a primary challenger.

Johnson also argued, against his Johnson County based 2012 opponent, that only a Cedar County candidate can win here. So now there are two: former Cedar County supervisor Dennis Boedeker announced last week. Boedeker won three terms county-wide before stepping down in 2012.

House District 74
Registration D 8262, R 4052, N 5925, total 18292, D +4210
Dave Jacoby (D) incumbent

Jacoby's last opposition was a weird 2010 primary where the opponent dropped out and then back in; Dave prevailed by roughly 70 points.

House District 75
Registration D 5163, R 5743, N 8828, total 19755, R +580
Dawn E. Pettengill (R) incumbent

Pettingill will have opposition from Democrat Steve Beck of Belle Plaine; always a grudge match when a party switcher is involved. 

House District 76
Registration D 5513, R 6303, N 8600, total 20441, R +790
Dave Maxwell (R) incumbent

Former Grinnell school board president  Eric Pederson filed for the Dems in House 76, challenging GOP freshman David Maxwell, who won a close 53-47 race against Rachel Bly when the seat was new last cycle.

House District 77
Registration D 7377, R 5226, N 7864, total 20492, D +2151
Sally Stutsman (D) incumbent

Rumor was that 2012 Republican challenger Steve Sherman would try again, but that hasn't happened.

House District 78
Registration D 4848, R 7182, N 6935, total 18990, R +2334
Jarad J. Klein (R) incumbent

This is a frustrating one: Democrats WON this seat in 2008 with Larry Marek, but have failed to get even Some Dude opponents in 2012 and 2014.

House District 79
Registration D 3748, R 8995, N 6465, total 19228, R +5247
Guy Vander Linden (R) incumbent

Having gotten through a redistricting pairup, Vander  Linden can settle in for as long as he wants in this top ten GOP seat.

House District 80
Registration D 5981, R 6295, N 6722, total 19016, R +314
Larry Sheets (R) incumbent

Sheet narrowly beat Joe Judge of the Monroe County Judges in 2012 race when the seat was new.Democrats haven't got anyone yet this time.

House District 81
Registration D 7672, R 4122, N 5822, total 17634, D +3550
Mary Gaskill (D) incumbent

Republicans here are putting all their effort into trying to save Mark Chelgren, and are leaving Gaskill alone.

House District 82
Registration D 5936, R 6424, N 6129, total 18554, R +488
Curtis Hanson (D) incumbent

Jeff Shipley, a Republican state central committee member and liberty/Paulworld activist, is challenging Hanson. He filed in this seat last cycle but dropped out in time to get off the ballot. Jeff ran for the Iowa City council in 2009, getting through the primary but losing in the biggest landslide in city history as the two townies clobbered the two students. (I saw the blowout coming the minute filing closed, but endorsed him anyway.)
House District 83
Registration: D 8111, R 3229, N 6743, total 18108, D +4882
Jerry A. Kearns (D) incumbent

I'm running out of interesting things to say about uncontested races.

House District 84
Registration D 4464, R 7108, N 7216, total 18805, R +2644
David E. Heaton (R) incumbent

When Mt. Pleasant auto dealer Ralph Holmstrom filed, there was speculation that Heaton was stepping down after two decades. But no, this is a primary challenge. No Democrat.

House District 85
Registration D 10404, R 4096, N 8484, total 23150, D +6308
Vicki S. Lensing (D) incumbent

House District 86
Registration D 9254, R 3315, N 7279, total 19963, D +5939
Mary Mascher (D) incumbent

No Republicans in the Iowa City seats, the 2nd and 3rd most Democratic. Local Republicans will focus their efforts on Bobby Kaufmann, the Senate 39 race, and top of the ticket stuff.  Lensing drew an odd last second primary challenge from unknown Ron Varner. UPDATE: Varner tried to drop out but the paperwork arrived late. Then his papers were challenged and enough signatures were outside the district that he was removed from the ballot.

House District 87
Registration D 8673, R 3896, N 6268, total 18864, D +4777
Dennis M. Cohoon (D) incumbent

Cohoon won with under 50% in 2012 in a bizarre three way race where a sitting Democratic supervisor was running as an independent.  This cycle, the Republicans have yet to field an opponent. (Independents and third parties can't file till August.)

House District 88
Registration D 5773, R 5930, N 6854, total 18570, R +157
Thomas R. Sands (R) incumbent

Sands got a tough challenge last time from Sara Sedlacek, but has banking background and leadership position give him deep pockets in this low income district. Late Democratic efforts to recruit Danville mayor Roger Doofenschmirtz failed.

House District 89
Registration D 7151, R 4329, N 8475, total 19969, D +2822
Jim Lykam (D) incumbent

House District 90
Registration D 7679, R 2663, N 7216, total 17591, D +5016
Cindy Winckler (D) incumbent

Yet another pair of strong Democratic urban districts with no Republicans running.

House District 91
Registration D 5595, R 5608, N 7521, total 18744, R +13
OPEN Mark S. Lofgren (R) incumbent

Lofgren is vacating the seat for a congressional race that will almost certainly end at the hands of Mariannette Miller-Meeks. At one point there were briefly four candidates. Lofgren's daughter Emily quit, and Mark LeRette dropped out after losing his city council seat last fall.

That leaves HON executive Gary Carlson and Mark Cisneros,  owner of the Shop 2 Drop consignment store at the Muscatine Mall and "co-chair" (sic) for the Muscatine County Republican Party.

The winner faces John Dabeet, chair of the Muscatine Community College business department. Democrat Nathan Reichert held this seat from 2004-10 and the margin is very close.

House District 92
Registration D 5856, R 5542, N 8729, total 20139, D +314
Frank Wood (D) incumbent

Walcott Republican Ross Paustian is making a comeback attempt. He lost in a top-tier challenge to Democrat Elesha Gayman in 2008, won when Gayman stepped down in 2010, then lost to Frank Wood last cycle.

Wood got knocked out of the Senate in 2008 then came back to beat one-term rep Paustian in 2012.

House District 93
Registration D 6813, R 6068, N 8030, total 20943, D +745
Phyllis Thede (D) incumbent

Bettendorf rotary president Mark Ross is the Republican in House 93, challenging Democrat Phyllis Thede. She had a close race in 2010 then drew a weak 2012 opponent.

House District 94
Registration D 5465, R 8181, N 9138, total 22805, R +2716
Linda J. Miller (R) incumbent

Miller got a fairly tough race in 2012 from Maria Bribriesco but with Bribriesco in the Senate 47 race instead Miller ends up with her usual no opposition.

House District 95
Registration D 6356, R 6168, N 8243, total 20815, D +188
Quentin Stanerson (R) incumbent

A rematch: Democrat Kristi Keast of Mt. Vernon lost to Stanerson by just 200 votes in 2012.

House District 96
Registration D 4543, R 5763, N 8354, total 18668, R +1220
Lee Hein (R) incumbent

Hein has been unopposed since beating Democrat Ray Zirkelbach in 2012 when the district was bluer. He moved in 2011 to stay with this district after getting paired with fellow Republican Brian Moore.

House District 97
Registration D 5778, R 5941, N 9013, total 20751, R +163
OPEN Steven N. Olson (R) incumbent, retiring

n House 97, where Republican Steve Olson is retiring after six terms. Norlin Mommsen of DeWitt is in for the GOP. Democrats have a primary: Carl Boehl of LeClaire faces labor activist Jay Saxon of Camanche.Olson had a closeish 56-44 race in 2008 but was unopposed in 2010 and easily beat a late starter in 2012.

House District 98
Registration D 6672, R 3819, N 7655, total 18163, D +2853
Mary Wolfe (D) incumbent

Safe to say that no one in the legislature has had a harder stretch lately than Mary Wolfe, dealing with the violent death of her two sisters. So if anyone deserves a break, it's Mary, and she gets one with no opponent. Wolfe won a close race when the seat was open in 2010 and beat an independent in `12.

House District 99
Registration D 8583, R 4887, N 7278, total 20787, D +3696
OPEN Patrick Murphy (D) incumbent, running for Congress

House District 100
Registration D 7996, R 3625, N 6485, total 18144, D +4371
Charles Isenhart (D) incumbent

Again, no Republican legislative candidates in a heavily Democratic town where they were running Some Dudes in cycles past. (One of those Some Dudes almost beat Pat Murphy when he was a sitting Speaker in 2010.)

House 99, the Murphy seat, has already had an interesting race. Abby Finkenauer will face Steve Drahozal. A third candidate, Greg Simpson, dropped out at the county convention and endorsed Drahozal. It's Finkenauer's first run and, though he doesn't like to talk about it, Drahozal's second. He ran here in Johnson County in 2000 as a Libertarian. Here's more.

Isenhart draws no opposition, same as 2012.